Author: salustri

Maths in design?

Some of you may be wondering how math figures into design. There’s lots of ways, but Prof. Terry Love does a particularly good job of describing one of those ways in a recent post to a design mailing list in…

An animal with gears

That’s right: there’s at least one critter on this planet that evolved gears as part of its body. Now that’s cool. See http://scitechdaily.com/natural-example-functioning-gear-mechanism-discovered-insect/ for details.

507 Mechanical Movements

Here’s an excellent FREE reference for mechanical engineers (and Mech students) working with mechanisms: 507 mechanical movements. One of my favourites is this reversible gear system.  Brownie points to those who can figure out how to make this work such…

Getting research published

Students often wonder how difficult publishing one’s research can be. Well, here’s an example.  First, please check http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0164121200000200, which proves this “publication” is a real one.  Notice that you can buy it for only $31.50. Now, fortunately, you can find this…

Writing emails

It seems that one thing not covered in the “business technology” and related courses in high schools today, is how to write a proper email.  So I’m going to note a few dos and don’ts of emails. Writing emails can…

Here’s how bad plagiarism is

Dr. Chris Spence, the education director of the Toronto District School Board, has resigned after it was alleged that he plagiarized the work of others.  So let’s be clear: even the allegation of plagiarism can cost you your job.  That’s…

It IS possible to have a better education

http://www.businessinsider.com/finland-education-school-2011-12?op=1 The Finns are doing it right. We know this because of the quality of the students graduating from their schools. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to imagine why we don’t even hear about this sort…

DailyDirt: Doing Math In Your Head

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101020/11545811503/dailydirt-doing-math-your-head.shtml Visualizing ways to sole problems – even abstract math problems – can be really, really useful. It doesn’t have to be an abacus. It can be anything at all that helps your brain think in pictures.

Ashok Goel on sustainable design

Ashok Goel is a world-renowned design researcher with a background in computer science and cognitive science.  He has worked for a long time on the problems of “what is design?” and “how can we do it better?” In this youtube…

Revelo “LIFEbike”

Here’s an interesting design: the Revelo LIFEbike.  Notice where the pedals are.  Yes; they’re pedals. Think of why this product may have been designed that way.  (There are good reasons.)  I think this is a great example of what happens…

An “inclusive design” competition

From the website: http://www.metropolismag.com/nextgen/ This year Metropolis challenges you to develop solutions that empower, advance, and include groups often overlooked in the design process (including but not limited to, our rapidly increasing aging population and citizens with disabilities). The annual Next Generation® Design Competition is open for entries.…

Re-imagining cities

Here’s a great TED talk by Kent Larson, about how we can completely re-imagine how cities work by going back to how cities first started, then adding modern technology to it.  This technique can lead to cities that are far…

2013 Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge

Website: http://www.dimensionprinting.com/extreme-redesign/extreme-redesign-main.aspx In the past, thousands of students have submitted their great ideas and brought them to life with a 3D printer. Stratasys is once again calling on middle school, high school and college-level students worldwide to send us their best,…

Why space exploration matters

Whenever there’s a notable success in space exploration, there’s always some redneck yahoos coming out of the woodwork, proclaiming that space exploration is a waste of money. Given the recent successful landing of Curiosity on Mars, I thought I would…

Design competition for students

Core77, Autodesk, and a bunch of other companies are running a design competition for students: Design For (Your) Product Lifetime. Deadline for submission is 15 November 2012. It’s open to any >18 yrs old University/college student. Details at http://www.core77.com/blog/design_for_your_product_lifetime/. There are…

A couple of great comedy sketches

Abbott and Costello are perhaps best known for a baseball sketch called “Who’s on First?”  If you’ve never seen it, you really need to.  It’s on youtube, here.  It worth the 7 minutes. Once you’ve watched that, read this modern…

Plagiarism is Evil

Please take the time to read this article at Scientific American about plagiarism.  I want to stress two passages in particular. Passage #1: Ten years into this academic post and I’m still waiting for that plagiarism-free term. That’s right.  There’s…

The joys of academia

Here’s a wonderful peak into the life of academics: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/mohamed-noor-profiled-in-the-scientist-and-a-note-on-authorship/ It also shows the fine character of Prof. Jerry Coyne.

That’s low!

I’m administering my drafting exam. Students must leave their bags and coats at the front of the room to counteract cheating. Well, this year, it seems, some particularly idiotic students are walking out of exams with other people’s bags! On…

Underemployment is no cause for concern

This headline should trouble students…. or should it? Apparently, in the US, half of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. First of all, it’s not clear to me that the situation is the same in Canada, but it wouldn’t surprise…

Language facepalms

In case you’re wondering just how important it is to communicate clearly, here’s a couple of examples. “It’s a life-changing event to be injured and die in a car accident.” Yes, death is life-changing. “Pedestrians: when you’re driving, try to…

The Old Days

“In 1998, when the Stanford graduate students Sergey Brin and Larry Page launched Google, the existing search engines were so inadequate that only one was capable of finding itself when queried with its own name.” ~Charles Petersen

14 Rules of Life

There are some things you need to know, and that you probably don’t know yet.  These are important things. Some of you may have heard these rules attributed to Bill Gates.  But that’s not true.  They are properly attributed to…